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British press spun 'positive' Brexit meeting with Boris Johnson: EU leader

Matthew McNulty

President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker dismissed reports from the British press that suggested his meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson last week was a negative experience, claiming instead that the meeting was “rather positive” as the two negotiated on a deal for Britain to leave the European Union.

Described as an “ambush” by U.K. news outlets like the Telegraph and the Sun, the working lunch meeting between Juncker and Johnson in Luxembourg last Monday was encouraging, Juncker told Sky News on Sunday.

“This was a rather positive meeting,” he said. “Although the British press was reporting it in the other way. But we can get (a deal) done.”

“I’m doing everything possible to have a deal (made), because I don’t like the idea of no deal… this would have catastrophic consequences for Britain and the European Union.”

Juncker stated, in no uncertain terms, that the EU would be forced to reestablish a hard border on the island of Ireland if Britain leaves the EU without a deal.

With the Oct. 31 deadline looming for a Brexit deal to be made, the issue of returning a hard border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland remains a controversial subject, with Juncker saying that he’s not married to the idea of an “Irish backstop” as long as a Brexit deal is made by Halloween.

Juncker remains convinced that Brexit will happen, and warned that such "catastrophic consequences" of a no-deal Brexit could easily reignite tensions between Ireland and Northern Ireland that ended back in 1998 after the Good Friday Agreement.

“I don’t have an erotic relationship with the (so-called Irish) backstop, but if the results are there, I don’t care about it,” he said Sunday.

“If the objectives are met, all of them, than we won’t need the backstop. The backstop was just a guarantee, not an aim in and of itself.”

“I am convinced that Brexit will happen.”

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